Silver Surfer Makes Waves in the Underground

underground_silversurfer.png

20th Century Fox is using this Silver Surfer trailer to entice roving eyes on the commute between Jersey and Manhattan on the PATH line. It's slated to run the entire month of June.

This is a really interesting idea. Submedia has a patented tunnel system that turns static images into moving pictures right outside a train's window. Beats staring at the LavaLife ads slathered all over the Bay Area's BART train interiors.

We actually want to watch Silver Surfer now, even though we've been burned one time too many by superhero films that, far from authentically adapting a comic book concept, really just suck the love out of nostalgic fans.

by Angela Natividad    Jun-14-07   Click to Comment   
Topic: Good, Outdoor, Promotions   

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I always held up the Spider-Man movies as the ones that “got it right.” Compared to all the other superhero movies since Superman 1, which have included installments 2-4 plus Superman Returns, the 4 Batman films plus Batman Begins, and everything from Daredevil to Ghost Rider, the first two Spider-Man films were the most faithful and true to its character’s original conception, and thus truly responsible for the outrageous success of the franchise. Even the X-Men trilogy, as good as it was, weasled out in the costume department, failing to bring the comic book versions of the characters to life—original director Bryan Singer commented that “no one would believe a superhero in spandex,” and so took the by-now clichéd, black leather way out.
But not Spider-Man director Sam Raimi—he remained faithful to the integrity of the four-color, spandex original, the most unique costume design in the history of superheroes, even enhancing the suit’s webbing of artist/creator Steve Ditko by embossing it as metallic latticework. And as important as achieving the verisimilitude of that outfit was the way Raimi and his team of special effects artists got the character to move on film in that outfit—bending, twisting, arching, swinging on webs and walking on walls, realizing beautifully on screen what Ditko so creatively delineated on the page.
Beyond the spotlight on Spider-Man the superhero was the films’ proper focus on Peter Parker the character, the heart and soul who makes the antihero concept of Spider-Man work. Actor Tobey Maguire was perfectly cast, physically—unlike the leads in so many other superhero flicks, including the new Superman and all of the Batmen—combining the right amount of Ditko’s nebbishy teen nerd with Ditko-successor John Romita’s suaver twentysomething. Maguire, under Raimi’s cofident direction, rode the delicate line of his character’s dual arc without ever falling into parody or satire.
The same could be said of the first two Spider-Man movies themselves. They never did anything stupid, or made fun of the characters or situations like so many other comic book movies did. While Raimi did have an offbeat, self-aware satirical streak, dating back to his Evil Dead movies, that never let him take his material too seriously, Raimi kept that impulse largely in check in his first two Spidey installments, with the result being a refreshing take on superhero movies. Raimi didn’t make fun of comics—he had fun with comics. And the rest is box office history.
All of the aforementioned, unfortunately, does not apply to Spider-Man 3 (except for the costume and the box office history). Even the great webswinging and webshooting sequences are either missing completely or break no new ground the way the second film did. Instead, we are mis-treated to the Spider-Man equivalent of the Batman TV show, surely the nadir and death-knell of any superhero film endeavor (including Batman’s own, evidenced by Joel Schumacher’s two nipple-and-codpiece films).
Like those misguided flops, Raimi overloads the film with too many villains—The Sandman, Venom, the son of Green Goblin, and even the black-costumed Spider-Man himself—to the point where they not only steal valuable screen time away from our friendly neighborhood wallcrawler, but they dominate, and obliterate, the one, real, true villain of the Spider-Man saga—Daily Bugle boss J. Jonah Jameson (so wonderfully played by the menacing J.K. Simmons of HBO’s intense Oz prison series). He is not so much overlooked as defanged by Raimi (and fellow screenwriters Ivan Raimi and Alvin Sargent) into a laughing stock struggling with stress medication. Spider-Man’s bete noir deserved better than this.
But the ridicule of Jameson is nothing compared to the drubbing that Peter Parker’s character takes in this film. Infected with the black symbiote from outer space (itself a genre convention that Ditko, in his stated desire to keep Spider-Man grounded in reality, would have never created nor condoned), Parker embraces his “dark” side, which Raimi & Co. hokily visualize by dressing Parker in—yes, all black, dropping bangs in front of his eyes, and having him act like the “bad boy” in every bad high school movie you’ve ever seen—all in an effort to seduce Mary Jane away from Harry (the new Green Goblin) Osborne. After too much groan-inducing voguing of cool guy poses in the streets, we are subjected to an outlandish ersatz-jazz song-and-dance number by Maguire that, while expertly performed, is excruciating to watch, as we realize the Spider-train has run completely off the tracks and into the camp of the Batman TV series. Holy Spider-shit, Batman!
When Maguire’s not being “Dark Parker,” he attempts to get Mary Jane back, meeting her on a bridge in Central Park with a bouquet of flowers in hand. When she turns him down, Maguire literally bursts into tears in a blubbering, pleading whine that was so laugh-out-loud pathetic that I, and the audience I saw it with…laughed out loud. Pathetic.
By the time we reach the final, obligatory fight-fest between the red-and-true-blue Spidey, Venom, a giant-sized Sandman, and a reformed Goblin fighting on Spidey’s side, all the pyrotechnics and computer effects that money can buy cannot save the film from its prior gaffes, like a surgeon hastily sewing the patient up after botching the operation. The film ends, unwittingly fittingly, with our hero and heroine framed in front of a state-of-the-art Hallmark card sunset that looks as phony as the film itself.
Whither Spider-Man, the franchise, from here? Rumor has it good that there will be a Spidey 4, and beyond; this much money made pretty much dictates that the show must go on. But with Raimi in charge, as for sure he will be, I cringe at the prospect of further desecrations of the Spider-Man mythos, since he has exposed his true schlockmeister predelictions with this effort—and no doubt will continue to.
It’s just unfortunate that the man who should’ve been directing the Spider-Man franchise, who understood and loved the character perhaps even more than Raimi, and therefore would never have made him the butt of so many jokes, never got the chance because he was, in a way, too successful for Spider-Man; once James Cameron made all that money and won all those Oscars for Titanic, he swore he would never direct a property he didn’t own. We’ll never know how great a Cameron-directed Spider-Man film would’ve been.
And so, for better or for worse, we’re stuck with Sam Raimi. Here’s hoping he can right the ship, because it’s certainly jumped the shark.

Posted by: arlen schumer on June 14, 2007 1:52 PM

I always held up the Spider-Man movies as the ones that “got it right.” Compared to all the other superhero movies since Superman 1, which have included installments 2-4 plus Superman Returns, the 4 Batman films plus Batman Begins, and everything from Daredevil to Ghost Rider, the first two Spider-Man films were the most faithful and true to its character’s original conception, and thus truly responsible for the outrageous success of the franchise. Even the X-Men trilogy, as good as it was, weasled out in the costume department, failing to bring the comic book versions of the characters to life—original director Bryan Singer commented that “no one would believe a superhero in spandex,” and so took the by-now clichéd, black leather way out.
But not Spider-Man director Sam Raimi—he remained faithful to the integrity of the four-color, spandex original, the most unique costume design in the history of superheroes, even enhancing the suit’s webbing of artist/creator Steve Ditko by embossing it as metallic latticework. And as important as achieving the verisimilitude of that outfit was the way Raimi and his team of special effects artists got the character to move on film in that outfit—bending, twisting, arching, swinging on webs and walking on walls, realizing beautifully on screen what Ditko so creatively delineated on the page.
Beyond the spotlight on Spider-Man the superhero was the films’ proper focus on Peter Parker the character, the heart and soul who makes the antihero concept of Spider-Man work. Actor Tobey Maguire was perfectly cast, physically—unlike the leads in so many other superhero flicks, including the new Superman and all of the Batmen—combining the right amount of Ditko’s nebbishy teen nerd with Ditko-successor John Romita’s suaver twentysomething. Maguire, under Raimi’s cofident direction, rode the delicate line of his character’s dual arc without ever falling into parody or satire.
The same could be said of the first two Spider-Man movies themselves. They never did anything stupid, or made fun of the characters or situations like so many other comic book movies did. While Raimi did have an offbeat, self-aware satirical streak, dating back to his Evil Dead movies, that never let him take his material too seriously, Raimi kept that impulse largely in check in his first two Spidey installments, with the result being a refreshing take on superhero movies. Raimi didn’t make fun of comics—he had fun with comics. And the rest is box office history.
All of the aforementioned, unfortunately, does not apply to Spider-Man 3 (except for the costume and the box office history). Even the great webswinging and webshooting sequences are either missing completely or break no new ground the way the second film did. Instead, we are mis-treated to the Spider-Man equivalent of the Batman TV show, surely the nadir and death-knell of any superhero film endeavor (including Batman’s own, evidenced by Joel Schumacher’s two nipple-and-codpiece films).
Like those misguided flops, Raimi overloads the film with too many villains—The Sandman, Venom, the son of Green Goblin, and even the black-costumed Spider-Man himself—to the point where they not only steal valuable screen time away from our friendly neighborhood wallcrawler, but they dominate, and obliterate, the one, real, true villain of the Spider-Man saga—Daily Bugle boss J. Jonah Jameson (so wonderfully played by the menacing J.K. Simmons of HBO’s intense Oz prison series). He is not so much overlooked as defanged by Raimi (and fellow screenwriters Ivan Raimi and Alvin Sargent) into a laughing stock struggling with stress medication. Spider-Man’s bete noir deserved better than this.
But the ridicule of Jameson is nothing compared to the drubbing that Peter Parker’s character takes in this film. Infected with the black symbiote from outer space (itself a genre convention that Ditko, in his stated desire to keep Spider-Man grounded in reality, would have never created nor condoned), Parker embraces his “dark” side, which Raimi & Co. hokily visualize by dressing Parker in—yes, all black, dropping bangs in front of his eyes, and having him act like the “bad boy” in every bad high school movie you’ve ever seen—all in an effort to seduce Mary Jane away from Harry (the new Green Goblin) Osborne. After too much groan-inducing voguing of cool guy poses in the streets, we are subjected to an outlandish ersatz-jazz song-and-dance number by Maguire that, while expertly performed, is excruciating to watch, as we realize the Spider-train has run completely off the tracks and into the camp of the Batman TV series. Holy Spider-shit, Batman!
When Maguire’s not being “Dark Parker,” he attempts to get Mary Jane back, meeting her on a bridge in Central Park with a bouquet of flowers in hand. When she turns him down, Maguire literally bursts into tears in a blubbering, pleading whine that was so laugh-out-loud pathetic that I, and the audience I saw it with…laughed out loud. Pathetic.
By the time we reach the final, obligatory fight-fest between the red-and-true-blue Spidey, Venom, a giant-sized Sandman, and a reformed Goblin fighting on Spidey’s side, all the pyrotechnics and computer effects that money can buy cannot save the film from its prior gaffes, like a surgeon hastily sewing the patient up after botching the operation. The film ends, unwittingly fittingly, with our hero and heroine framed in front of a state-of-the-art Hallmark card sunset that looks as phony as the film itself.
Whither Spider-Man, the franchise, from here? Rumor has it good that there will be a Spidey 4, and beyond; this much money made pretty much dictates that the show must go on. But with Raimi in charge, as for sure he will be, I cringe at the prospect of further desecrations of the Spider-Man mythos, since he has exposed his true schlockmeister predelictions with this effort—and no doubt will continue to.
It’s just unfortunate that the man who should’ve been directing the Spider-Man franchise, who understood and loved the character perhaps even more than Raimi, and therefore would never have made him the butt of so many jokes, never got the chance because he was, in a way, too successful for Spider-Man; once James Cameron made all that money and won all those Oscars for Titanic, he swore he would never direct a property he didn’t own. We’ll never know how great a Cameron-directed Spider-Man film would’ve been.
And so, for better or for worse, we’re stuck with Sam Raimi. Here’s hoping he can right the ship, because it’s certainly jumped the shark.

Posted by: arlen schumer on June 14, 2007 1:53 PM

Huh? LavaLife notwithstanding, BART has two tunnel projections in operation that (IMHO) are of better quality than what one sees in the PATH. Then again, there are a number of these tunnel thingies around the world that I haven't seen, so who knows what might be the best patented system that otherwise brightens up the car-bound commuters' day.

Posted by: dce on June 14, 2007 8:32 PM







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